Ever wonder why your stomach hurts after you eat a plate of black beans or why it seems hard to digest grains containing gluten? According to some theories, our gut issues began at the start of Agriculture - just a few thousand years ago - when humans began eating things they had never previously consumed. This is the basis of the Paleo diet concept, where believers feel that eating as hunter/gatherers did during the Paleolithic era is the healthiest way for us to eat, even now. But, that leaves out the vegetables, fruit, grains, seeds and nuts that have become important staples in our diets - especially if you are not a meat eater.
Dr. Steven Gundry, a former cardiologist and author of “The Plant Paradox”, walked away from doing pediatric heart surgery when he discovered that he could do more good teaching his patients how to eat. He keeps all his patients away from foods containing a sticky protein called Lectin. Lectins are compounds found in most grains, beans, nuts and seeds that mimic insulin, binding to sugars and preventing the absorption of minerals and vitamins.
Gluten, the protein found in all wheat that gives bread its spongy quality, is also a Lectin. Aside from Celiac sufferers, who should avoid it completely, it is believed that all of us are Gluten sensitive. Gluten eventually pokes holes in the gut lining causing damage that can lead to autoimmune responses from a “leaky gut”. Don’t be fooled by the “Gluten Free” aisles in the supermarket - now a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s nice that the industrial food complex has removed gluten from the refined wheat they use to make cookies and cakes, but don’t forget to look for added sugars, fillers and dangerous vegetable oils in those products. Read the labels and remember that you are still eating junk food - with the gluten removed.
Lectins are just one in a category of “anti-nutrients”, keeping company with other substances known as phytates, saponins and oxalates. All work in similar ways, mimicking compounds that block specific minerals from being absorbed in a kind of chemical warfarePlants are clever - The grains and legumes that we consume are actually their reproductive seeds. Since plants can’t run from danger the way animals can, instead they produce toxic substances that are part of the plant’s defense mechanism against hungry predators - humans, other animals and insects. To a plant, humans are just giant insects!
Why are dogs going "grain free" and not humans?
This is Audrey, my six year old Cockapoo. She looks like a cuddly toy, until she goes to her food bowl where she chews on marrow bones and eagerly consumes the meat I give her. She is driven to eat animals because dogs are carnivores; it makes sense to keep grain products out of their diet and, for that matter, leave it out of cat food as well. All my cats have been fierce hunters, dragging rats into the house that weighed more than they did. It still haunts me to think that my wonderful cat, Fanny, died from diabetic complications, most likely from the grain sourced kibble I fed her. If I’d only known then what I know now…
What to do
It’s no surprise that cultures have been eating legumes and grains for centuries with no problems; they knew how to prepare them. For instance, white rice is healthier than brown rice because in white rice, the hull where the Lectins live are removed. If you are eating white rice, make sure to balance the portion with good fats and protein to dampen the high glycemic load. Eat sourdough bread or sprouted bread, instead of regular refined breads. Fermented foods are lectin free foods, so load up on sauerkraut! Since Lectins are found in the seeds, hulls and skin of the plant, removing them will remove the problem. Your Italian grandmother knew what she was doing when she removed the seeds and skins from the tomatoes and eggplants.
Here’s how to begin:
Chart courtesy of Experience Life.
We are designing a new website with lots of recipes and healthy information.
Here’s a simple recipe to try:
1.) Measure 1 cup of your favorite almond, cashew, pecan or pistachio. In this case we are using almonds. Place in bowl. Make sure to soak and sprout nuts and seeds first.
2.) Add enough water to cover- about 2 cups- soak for 12 hours.
3.) Drain the liquid through a strainer and add soaked nuts to any household blender. I am a big fan of the Vitamix.
4.) Add 3 to 4 cups of water to the blender along with any flavor-enhancing ingredients, if desired (coconut/vanilla are a good combo
5). Blend on high speed until consistency is smooth (about one to two minutes).
5.) Pour liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth, and enjoy!